A recently released report by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has highlighted the rise in the illicit tobacco trade.
Operation Henry 2 was a coordinated enforcement campaign by Trading Standards Services to tackle the local supply of illicit tobacco products across England and was the second largest of its kind.
Delivered between December 2015 and April 2016 illicit tobacco products worth almost £1m were seized during the operation. This was 18 per cent higher than the first operation, carried out by trading standards in 2014.
In London 13 boroughs received funding to take part with the following results;
- Over nine days 51 retail premises were visited
- 57% of these were found to be selling illicit tobacco
- 80,360 cigarettes were seized along with over a quarter of a tonne of hand rolling tobacco
- Over half of the premises found with illicit stock were repeat offenders
- The biggest haul was found in Westminster where some 28,000 cigarettes were found in one premises along with £80,000 cash
Across England, trading standards officers confiscated around 2.9 million cigarettes and 1,272kg of illicit hand-rolling tobacco (HRT) – an additional 205,591 sticks and 547.22 kg of illicit hand rolling tobacco compared with Operation Henry 1.
The majority of seizures were of relatively small quantities, suggesting only a small amount of stock is maintained at retail premises, to reduce the risk of a significant loss of product during a search and seizure.